‘Rip off the Band-Aid’: Wells Fargo makes case for 150 basis point hike at Fed meeting

It’s a move that would likely cause panic on Wall Street.

But Wells Fargo Securities’ Michael Schumacher suggests the Federal Reserve is raising rates too slowly, telling CNBC’s “Fast Money” he would seriously consider a 150 basis point hike this week if he were Chair Jerome Powell.

“The Fed knows what the destination is. So it’s got the funds rate now, the upper bound, is 2.5%. Very likely it gets to 4%-plus this year,” the firm’s head of macro strategy said on Tuesday. “Why not just rip off the Band-Aid. Let’s get there in one day. But of course, the Fed won’t do that.”

He acknowledges it would be a tough maneuver to pull off without violently shaking markets. The key is policymakers need to convince investors the historical jump in rates is frontloaded, according to Schumacher.

“It would do a huge move and then stop or stop pretty soon. The big fear in the market would be ‘oh my goodness, they’ve done a record-sized move. What’s going to happen next month or the month after that? We’ve better get out of the way,'” said Schumacher. “It would require incredibly good communication and confidence or the result: Carnage. And nobody wants that.”

Based on this month’s CNBC Fed Survey, the Street believes the Fed will lift rates by 75 basis points on Wednesday. It would be the Fed’s fifth hike this year.

Schumacher believes the Street has the September meeting rate forecast right. But he warns it’s likely Powell will be more hawkish during Wednesday’s news conference due to hot inflation.

“When you consider the last 10-plus years, we’ve had incredibly easy monetary policy for most of that time. Super-stimulative fiscal policy in a lot of cases, especially the U.S. So, doing a very quick U-turn — I suspect it’s going to be very rocky. It has been rocky already,” noted Schumacher. “To think that it would somehow go smoothly from here is probably a big leap.”

The Dow, S&P 500 and Nasdaq on Tuesday fell one percent and are down three out of the last four sessions. Since the July Fed meeting, the Dow and Nasdaq are off about 5% while the S&P is down 4%.

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And Treasury yields are rapidly climbing. The 2-year Treasury Note yield hit its highest level since 2007. It’s a place Schumacher is recommending to investors for relative safety.

“Look at the front end of the U.S. Treasury curve. You’ve got the 2-year treasury yielding just about 4%. It’s gone up enormously,” Schumacher said. “If you think about the real yield, which a lot of people in the bond market focus on, it’s probably not a bad place to hide out. Take a short duration position, sit there for a few months [and] see what the Federal Reserve does and then react.”


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